Marsh Volunteer Award for Marine Conservation
This is a new Award run in partnership with the Royal Societies of Wildlife Trusts, commonly referred to as the ‘Wildlife Trusts.’ It annually recognises a volunteer who has made an outstanding contribution to marine conservation and who has furthered the work of the Wildlife Trusts in this area. This is a National Award which is open to all 47 Wildlife Trusts, with volunteers nominate by local Trusts. The Award is delivered in partnership with the Wildlife Trusts ‘Living Seas’ projects, a scheme for the conservation of the seas and marine wildlife.
The Royal Society of Wildlife Trusts operates as an umbrella body for the 47 individual Wildlife Trusts, covering the whole of the UK, the Isle of Man and Alderney. The Wildlife Trusts manage around 2,300 nature reserves and run marine conservation projects around the coast.
Pictured: Tompot Blenny portrait, photographed by 2014 Award winner, Paul Naylor
The 2016 winners are Nigel Phillips and Ivor Rees
In 2010, Nigel recognised the importance and diversity of the coastal marine environment in Somerset, which had before gone largely unnoticed, and volunteered his services to Somerset Wildlife Trust to champion these Living Seas.
Nigel is a hugely passionate naturalist and conservation advocate, and has trained himself in coastal ecology and species identification, developing an intimate knowledge of the coast after hundreds of hours walking and surveying it. He is now widely regarded as the leading authority in the county for all things coastal and shares his knowledge with energy and enthusiasm.
In 2013, Nigel was make Somerset Wildlife Trust’s Living Seas Ambassador and has organised a full and varied programme of coastal and marine events that have raised the profile of the coastal area. He has also written two books, Somerset Coast: A Living Landscape and A Guide to Finding Seashore and Rockpool Life in Somerset, which he uses to promote the Trust and illustrate its Living Seas vision.
Nigel has also set up a dedicated intertidal survey volunteer group, organising training sessions in the Shoresearch methodology, which has led to an increased level of data being made available to the Trust.
Due to the high standard of nominations, it was decided that a second Award would be presented this year to Ivor Rees.
Ivor is a long standing volunteer, mentor and marine conservationist, as well as an Honorary Research Fellow at Bangor University and a member of the North Wales Wildlife Trust’s Marine Advisory Group. Both Ivor and his wife (who was a Trustee in the 1970s) have been active members of the Trust for well over 40 years, providing advice and using their extensive knowledge of marine life and conservation to direct and inform marine projects and campaigns.
Ivor has an extensive library of publications to his name and is a regular contributor of articles and reviews to the Welsh wildlife magazine, Natur Cymru, along with editing the articles on marine subjects.
In 2007, the North Wales Wildlife Trust Marine Advisory Group was formed with Ivor as one of the founding members. The group has formalised the advice that he is able to give and has allowed him to help manage and protect the coastal reserves in North Wales. Over the years he has led many seashore walks for members and the public.
Pictured: Nigel Philips (top) and Ivor Rees (bottom) with their Awards
The Wildlife Trusts